Vanilla Kipferl Cookies

Vanilla Kipferl Cookies are a traditional Austrian/German Christmas cookie. These light and crisp cookies are always shaped like a crescent and dusted with vanilla sugar.

vanilla kipferl cookies

Do these cookies look familiar? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Vanilla Kipferl cookies are very similar to a number of other cookies made with nuts and coated with powdered sugar. Ever made Walnut Crescent Cookies,  Russian Tea Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies? Well, these are pretty much the same idea.

I use hazelnuts in my recipe because I love the flavor. But you can use any nut in the cookie. Actually, because I didn’t have quite enough hazelnuts in the pantry I ended up using 1/2 hazelnuts and 1/2 almonds and the flavor was great.

Walnuts or pecans would also work for this recipe. Obviously the type of nut will slightly change the flavor and texture of the cookie. They are all good, but I am partial to the hazelnut version.

The cookies are always called “Vanilla Kipferl”, not just “Kipferl” because the vanilla sugar is an integral part of the flavor for these cookies.

The vanilla sugar coating on the outside of the cookie gives a big vanilla flavor as soon as you bite into the cookie. That’s kind of what makes them special and not just another nut cookie. Well, that and the crescent shape.

This is a great Christmas cookie recipe not just because they’re traditional, pretty, and tasty. This is a great “make ahead” recipe. To work ahead you can make the dough and shape the cookies.

Then freeze the unbaked cookies in a single layer on a sheet pan. Once the cookies are frozen they can be packed into freezer bags and stored for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to bake just line the frozen cookies on sheet pan and bake them. No need to defrost. You may need to add a minute or two the baking time.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Vanilla Kipferl Cookies:

making vanilla kipferl cookies
Split the dough into four pieces and roll each piece to a long rope.
forming vanilla kipferl cookies
Cut the rope into 2″ segments.
shaping vanilla kipferl cookies
Taper the two ends of each cookie and form into a crescent shape.
vanilla kipferl cookies ready for the oven
vanilla sugar for vanilla kipferl cookies
To make vanilla place spent vanilla pods in a container of sugar. Store it in the pantry.
topping for vanilla kipferl cookies
Combine the vanilla sugar and powdered sugar.
vanilla kipferl cookies fresh from the oven
The cookies are ready when the tips are golden brown.
vanilla kipferl cookies rolled in sugar
Roll the warm cookies in the vanilla sugar.
vanilla kipferl cookies sprinkled with sugar
Sprinkle the cooled cookies with another layer of sugar before serving.
vanilla kipferl cookies
vanilla kipferl cookies made with hazelnuts

Lebkuchen are another traditional German cookies you will want to add to your holiday cookie display. You might also like these Vanilla Wafer cookies.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a pile of vanilla kipferl cookies on a black background with sugar pouring down
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4.75 from 8 reviews

Vanilla Kipferl Cookies

Vanilla Kipferl Cookies are a traditional Austrian Christmas cookie. These light and crisp cookies are always shaped like a crescent and dusted with vanilla sugar.
Prep Time20 minutes
Bake Time15 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
72 cookies
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  • 4 oz confectioner’s sugar (1 cup)
  • 8 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 oz all purpose flour (2 cups, see note)
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 4 oz hazelnuts (finely ground (see note))
  • 4 oz confectioner’s sugar (1 cup for dusting)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (for dusting (see note))


  • Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line two ½ sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  • Cream 4 oz confectioner’s sugar and 8 oz unsalted butter until light and aerated. Add 1 large egg yolk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add 10 oz all purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon table salt and 4 oz hazelnuts (finely ground) and mix just until incorporated.
  • On a lightly floured surface and with your hands floured, form the dough into a log shape about 2" wide. Cut the long into 4 sections. Roll one section to a ½" thick rope. Cut the rope into 2" segments. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough.
  • Roll both ends of each 2" piece of dough to form tapered points. Bend both ends to form the crescent shape. Place the cookies on the prepared pan, ½" apart. (see note) Bake until the tips turn golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. While the cookies are baking, whisk 4 oz confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar in a small bowl or pie plate.
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for just 1-2 minutes so you can pick them up without them breaking apart. Roll the warm cookies in the sugar. Reserve any left over sugar. When the cookies are completely cool sprinkle them generously with the remaining sugar.
  • The cookies will keep, stored in a covered container, at room temperature for 3-4 days.

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If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.
Almonds, walnuts or pecans can be used in place of the hazelnuts.
I keep a separate bin of granulated sugar in the pantry for vanilla sugar. Whenever I use a vanilla bean I put the empty pod in the vanilla sugar bin. The pods will perfume the sugar in a few days. For a last minute vanilla sugar rub a few vanilla bean seeds into granulated sugar to flavor the sugar.
To work ahead, the formed cookies can be frozen on the sheet pan and then transferred to storage bags. Keep up to 2-3 months. You can bake the cookies without defrosting. This may add a few minutes to the baking time.


Serving: 1cookies | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love these cookies. I made them for Christmas and gave some as a gift. I’m making more more now to serve at a function. They’re so easy to make.

  2. 5 stars
    My Mutti gave me her recipe and it is exactly the same minus the egg yolk. Super amazing version of this traditional recipe.